In the documentary, "Klitschko", which profiled the life and rise to fame of the Klitschko brothers, there was no indication that Vitaly would have picked up such a dangerous role of leader of country wide protests.  But looking attentively at that film, one could distinctly see that it was just his struggle to rise in the ranks of boxing and his successful run at the World Championship that prepared him for what he has set out to do today.  The Klitschkos have a vision for Ukraine, and it runs completely contrary to Putin's own.

Standing in freezing weather in a large Kyiv square, Vitaly Klitschko has brought new energy to the protesters of Ukraine.  For them, this is a do or die situation.  There is no retreat.  As in the documentary about their life, Vitaly knows that 'failure is not an option'.

Frightening signals are already reaching the beleaguered protesters.  Just yesterday they received an ominous text message, warning them that their activity on twitter or other social sites has been deemed part of subversive action.

Klitschko's presence however is vital to the protesters' demands.  His status and fame have already afforded him a meeting with the sitting President.  

However, the President is resisting demands that elections be held right away.  

In Kyiv, right now, protesters would like to see Klitschko head the protest and become the leading candidate, but such a move is premature and would overshadow the other opposition leaders who have taken part of the protests. 

Demonstrations turned deadly yesterday, with as many as 7 people killed in skirmishes with the police.

The government crackdown however is signaling a re-entrenchment that does not bode well.  Intimidation through social sites, and the newest repression in the square lead many to believe that the President is setting the stage for declaring martial law, thereby vacating completely the possibility of elections in the near future. 

There are some opposition leaders who are preparing to establish an alternative parliament, in expectation of government change.  But such preparations could be overly optimistic.  For now, Klitschko knows that the demonstrations must go on and the capital must continue to be occupied.  

The protesters are claiming they are ready to go on the offensive, but it this really feasible? Some of them are coming to the square armed with iron rods and other rudimentary weapons, and they say they are ready to go on the offensive if the government does not relent.  But in the glacial Ukrainian winter, does an offensive of people armed with sticks really threaten the seated President?

If there is a will, there is a way.  But Ukraine is now being closely watched.  There are many who are alarmed.  This is not Egypt, nor Syria.  But at the same time, there is no indication that Ukraine can repeat the peaceful Orange Revolution of years ago.  This passage promises to be brutal, a match worse than most Klitschko had to defend in the ring.


Kyiv is slowly being transformed into a battleground.  Barricades have been erected, fences and concrete blocks hoisted.  People are creating human chains that come with provisions to fend off the frigid temperatures.  Hot tea and pastries make the rounds.

What is more impressive, and also more dangerous, is the palpable and very real involvement of the younger section of the demonstrators.  They are the ones with the greatest determination.  Having seen their chance to join the EU evaporate, they are now so eager to sever themselves from old Russian ties, that they speak of war.  

Klitschko is doing something very smart:  he is trying to slowly ply the police and armed forces to join their cause.  If he succeeds, Ukraine will win, and Klitschko will have a future in Ukraine's revolution.  If he fails, many will probably die.


Source : Deutsche Welle/ 1.23.14


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